All of us suffer from shame at one time or another. It can occur when the expectations of ourselves or others create a sense of disappointment within us. Some people live a lifetime under a suffocating cloud of shame. This can be a paralyzing condition that prevents an individual from engaging openly with others and effectively feeling trapped in a cocoon of shame.
Shame tells you that you aren't enough, that you don't have worth or value, that what you have to say is irrelevant, that inevitable failure means you shouldn't even bother trying, that you won't be a success, that you will only embarrass yourself, that the essence of who you are is bad and doesn’t measure up … the list goes on and on.
Why would you want to spend your entire life living under this cloud? Especially when you can be free from it!
Here are some simple steps toward being more gracious with yourself and not believing the lies that your mind tells you are true.
1. Affirm and believe in yourself.
Write up on sticky notes affirmations to put on your mirror, in your car, any place that you know you will look often.
2. Spend more time with friends.
Make sure they're positive and encouraging, and spend less time with the critical ones.
3. Accept yourself for who you are.
You are not your mistakes.
4. Speak the truth.
Do so in a loving manner and set appropriate boundaries where necessary.
5. Take responsibility for yourself.
Don’t hide who you are. Be you, be real, be genuine.
6. Don't ignore your feelings completely.
Your feelings are valid and useful for understanding what is going on in your heart. Validate other people’s feelings as well.
7. Try new things, take the risk.
If you're successful, that's great; if you are not successful then you know that this ‘new thing’ is not your strength. So try something else.
Remember that you do have worth and value, you are not "bad," and you are NOT your mistakes. Don’t choose to live under the blanket of shame. Choose to come out from under its oppressive cover. Choose freedom.
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